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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 8, 2009

Date published:
October 08, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • De Bonis positive for EPO

    Francesco De Bonis (Diquigiovanni) rides in the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    October 07, 2009, 19:00 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Italian's pre-Giro d'Italia control positive for EPO-CERA

    Italian Francesco De Bonis tested positive for third generation Erythropoietin (EPO), CERA, before the Giro d'Italia, according to news agency RCD today. Testers took the control May 7, two days before the 2009 Giro d'Italia started in Venice.

    Team Diquigiovanni suspended De Bonis, 27, from racing June 18. It made the decision after the International Cycling Union's (UCI) biological passport system showed abnormal anti-doping samples. The UCI published its results June 17, releasing the names of De Bonis, Pietro Caucchioli, Ricardo Serrano, Igor Astarloa and Rubén Lobato.

    De Bonis became a professional with Gerolsteiner in 2008. He won his first and only race in Switzerland that year, a stage of the Tour de Romandie, May 3, 2008.

    It was his last race with Gerolsteiner, who refused to field him in races. De Bonis "did not fit in well with the team," said Gerolsteiner's team manager, Hans-Michael Holczer, at the time.

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  • National team a force at Herald Sun Tour

    2007 Herald Sun Tour winner Matt Wilson looks ahead to new challenges
    Article published:
    October 08, 2009, 2:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Composite crew chock full of quality

    The Jayco Australian National Team will start next week's Herald Sun Tour as one of the teams to watch thanks to a balanced squad that boasts some of the nation's best cycling talent.

    Experienced campaigner and 2007 champion Matt Wilson will lead the team with rising star Richie Porte, who comes off a successful racing stint in Italy which saw him net a stage win at the 'Baby Giro', among other victories.

    Supporting the pair will be Skil-Shimano rider Mitch Docker, fresh from his first full European racing season, Tasmanian journeyman Sean Sullivan, Pat Shaw, Tommy Nankervis and Nick Aitken.

    Team manager Dave Sanders is confident in the potential of his outfit to shake up the Sun Tour standings, with Porte a prime card to play during the week. "Richie's just got a lot of all-round talent," said Sanders.

    "People forget he came ninth in the Tour Down Under in 2008 and his style and this course next week will really suit him. There's no mountain top finish, but there's enough hills to really split the race and he'll be in the front every time," he added.

    Wilson, who capped off a great return to form during the 2007 season with the Herald Sun Tour title, believes that Sanders' faith in the team is well-placed. "We should have a couple of cards to play," said Wilson.

    Taking two leaders into the race is a strategy that the Victorian hopes will work for his crew for the week. He knows what it takes to prevail in Australia's second-largest event and explained, "The Jayco Herald Sun Tour is a gamble. You have to make the right breaks.

    "We'll be hoping to win a stage early, before the time trial on Friday. There are a lot of better time trialists than me in the field."

    The 2009 Jayco Herald Sun Tour will begin this Sunday, October 11 and finishes on Saturday, October 17, traveling through regional Victoria - Ballarat, Colac, Warrnambool, Apollo Bay, Anglesea, Barwon Heads and Geelong - before the twilight...

  • Chihuahua calling for Rock Racing

    Oscar Sevilla salutes the Rock Racing way.
    Article published:
    October 08, 2009, 4:02 BST
    Les Clarke

    Sevilla's smarts secure overall lead in Mexico

    Rock Racing arrived at the Vuelta a Chihuahua with defending champion Francisco Mancebo amongst its ranks and keen to perform in the race he has been dominant in over the past two season. Countryman and teammate Oscar Sevilla looks to be the man this year however, after an intelligent performance in stage three to take the overall lead.

    Sevilla made the right moves during the 152km stage and found himself in front of a peloton that trailed by 7:30. He had Tecos Trek rider Gregorio Ladino for company in the closing kilometres and now finds himself fighting the Colombian for the title.

    Glen Chadwick and Francisco Mancebo kept the peloton guessing by putting themselves in the right place, thus allowing Sevilla to strike and make his attack stick. The significance of this didn't evade the Spaniard.

    "It was a great day," said Sevilla at the finish in Guachochi. "I rode very well and I had a great team that has helped me. Each and every one of my colleagues did an exceptional job and if my lead is because of their work," he explained.

    "We were in attacks and breaks from the beginning," continued Sevilla. "Rock Racing has experienced riders who don't mind working for others; we do everything for each other, because in addition [to being teammates] we are great friends and colleagues and that great atmosphere has helped us enjoy a great season."

    Despite his obvious joy at taking the overall lead, Sevilla was remaining cautious about declaring the race won. He knows how good the competition is, and although the list of contenders has been whittled down thanks to the day's selection, Ladino, Rui Costa and Cioni remain a major threat.

    With tomorrow's stage the longest of the race at 188km, Rock Racing will have its work cut out. "Nothing is won yet," said Sevilla. "It will be easier [to defend the lead] because there are fewer riders to control but we must be attentive to Gregorio Ladino, Rui Costa and Cioni. Ladino is a...

  • Greipel ready for French end-of-season Classics

    Stage winner André Greipel (Columbia-HTC) celebrates on the podium.
    Article published:
    October 08, 2009, 9:08 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Columbia-HTC aims at success in Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours

    Sprinter André Greipel and his Columbia-HTC teammates are aiming for a strong season finish at the Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours Classics in France this week. The two races take place on October 8 and October 11 respectively.

    "Paris-Tours suits me better than Paris-Bourges, although it's so flat you've got to be careful because the cross-winds can make a big difference very quickly," said Greipel of his chances in the two events. "If it comes down to a bunch sprint, I'm in good shape and I'll give it the best I can."

    Greipel, who has acheived 19 victories already in 2009, has particularly high hopes for this year's Paris-Tours - a true French Classic and a sprinter's delight scheduled for this Sunday. Although the German doesn't have fond memories of his previous participation in the race, he'll aim for the highest result once again.

    "I've only done this race once before, back in 2006, and it wasn't great. An early break went and got such a big advantage the rest of us in the bunch had to abandon [Frédéric Guesdon won - ed.].  This time around we'll be watching the breaks very closely, and we'll try to get someone in whichever move gets away," said a confident Greipel

    "In a tough Classic like Paris-Tours, only the strongest sprinters are there at the end. But I know with my teammates, I can count on being in the right place at the right time."

    Columbia-HTC sports director Tristan Hoffman is also looking forward to guiding the squad at the two events, hoping for another success after a long season. "Everybody's a bit tired which is normal for this time of year," said Hoffman. "But I know our team is really motivated, particularly guys like André and of course Bernie [Eisel] who won Paris-Bourges last year. At this point...

  • Raleigh back in the peloton from 2010

    It's the Tour de France and you have to shoot the sunflowers!
    Article published:
    October 08, 2009, 9:48 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    British brand has five-year plan to come back to the top of European racing

    British based bicycle manufacturer Raleigh has announced its return to professional cycling sponsorship, founding Team Raleigh, a UK-based squad that will begin racing next year.

    Team Raleigh has high ambitions: Coming back to the top of the European racing scene within five years. It will be start out as a UK-based team that will target the UK Premier Calendar, Tour series and Elite criteriums in its first season. It will also aim at securing invitations to the 2010 editions of the Tours of Britain and Ireland. The ambitious long-term plan will then see the team, which has applied for Continental status with the International Cycling Union (UCI), move onto the continent for bigger challenges.

    "Raleigh aim to re-establish themselves at the very height of professional road racing again, 30 years after their 1980 Tour de France win, thus uniting their marketing and global range strategy, with an ambitious five-year plan," said the newly-founded squad in a press release this week.

    Raleigh were highly visible in the professional peloton during the late 1970s and early 1980s. At the time, their TI-Raleigh squad was synonymous with success. Joop Zoetemelk, Jan Raas and Gerrie Knetemann were all members of the team, and their victories included World Championships (Knetemann in 1978 and Raas in 1979) and the 1980 Tour de France (Zoetemelk).

    With its rider roster and co-sponsors yet to be announced, Team Raleigh has nevertheless already appointed a team manager, Chris Truett. The current director of Team Kinesis UK, Truett is looking forward to the new project.

    "I am excited and honoured to be the new team manager for Raleigh," he said. "We have some exciting times ahead and I will be looking to make Raleigh the best team in the UK, one that everyone will be talking about."

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  • Hoogerland relishes his end-of-season form

    Article published:
    October 08, 2009, 10:40 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Vacansoleil rider to race Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours, Lombardia his goal

    Vacansoleil's Johnny Hoogerland hopes to set up for a strong finish to his season with a good result at today's Paris-Bourges, in France. Speaking to Cyclingnews on the morning of the race, the Dutch rider said he expected the event to be decided by a small group, of which he will aim to be a part.

    "Today's a nice race for me because it will be hard," said Hoogerland. "Today I think there will be a big escape of about 15 riders and they're going to sprint for the victory."

    Hoogerland had reason to be confident, carrying good form from last month's Vuelta a España and World Championships. His 12th place overall finish in Spain was backed up by 14th in the Worlds road race. The latter result, in Switzerland, was the best-placed finish by a Dutchman.

    "I came out of the Worlds with a lot of confidence. I spoke to my [Vacansoleil] manager Hilaire Van Der Schueren afterwards and he said 'you need to go easy after Worlds', but I said I want to keep racing because I'm feeling so good now."

    After today's Paris-Bourges, Hoogerland will start in Paris-Tours on Sunday. With a sprint finish a likely scenario for the French Classic, he indicated that the race, along with the Giro del Piamonte in Italy next week, will serve more as preparation for his last major goal of the season: the Giro di Lombardia on October 17.

    "Sunday [at Paris-Tours] is a classic so it's always special and Piamonte is usually a sprint from a big group. Lombardia is my final goal for this season."

    Hoogerland will close his season at the Amstel Curaçao Race in the Netherlands Antilles on November 7. While the Curaçao race may not carry the prestige of the Vuelta or Lombardia, it will see him extend his racing season to more than nine months; something that Hoogerland hopes will set him up well for 2010.

    "By racing right up until the end of the season I will have had more than 100 racing days and I think that will make...

  • AFLD says incongruous products found during 2009 Tour

    The AFLD reported that French police discovered "incongruous" products in teams' rubbish at the 2009 Tour de France
    Article published:
    October 08, 2009, 11:21 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Products found by police not on WADA list, but AFLD questions their presence at Tour

    At a press conference on Wednesday, officials of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) have announced that a number of unusual medications were found in teams' rubbish bins by French police during this year's Tour de France. The products, which are not prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Code, have nevertheless been described as a "surprising therapeutic arsenal" by the AFLD.

    "Theoretically, they are incongruous products [to be found] in an environment where people are in good health," said Michel Rieu, the AFLD's scientific expert, according to AFP. "It seems abnormal to me to be finding anti-hypertensive drugs. Their aim is to ensure that the athlete keeps a low blood pressure. Why?"

    In addition to substances designed to treat hypertension, French police forces also allegedly discovered Sitagliptin, an oral drug normally used by diabetic patients, as well as Valpromide, an anticonvulsant used in the treatment of epilepsy and psychiatric disorders.

    AFLD President Pierre Bordry stated that he had "signalled this [the discoveries] to the World Anti-Doping Agency as soon as July", but Olivier Rabin, science director at WADA, denied receiving the information when asked by AFP in September.

    On Monday, French newspaper Le Monde also reported that the police searches, conducted on the teams' rubbish during the Tour de France, also uncovered several products that did not have importation authorisation from the French Agency for the safety of Health products (AFSSAPS) and were thus illegal on French soil. The medications, two anti-hypertensive drugs called Telmisartan and Quinapril, were seized.

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  • Gent-Wevelgem moved to Sunday before Tour of Flanders

    Markus Burghardt sets the tempo on the first trip up the Kemmelberg
    Article published:
    October 08, 2009, 15:45 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Move part of revamped Vlaamse Wielerweek

    The Spring Classic Gent-Wevelgem will get a more prestigious spot on the world calendar in 2010 when it moves from the Wednesday after the Ronde Van Vlaanderen to the Sunday before it. The race will take the position previously held by the UCI 1.1-classified Brabantse Pijl

    According to UCI ProTour director Alain Rumpf, the change is part of a larger reshuffling of the series of Flemish races known as Vlaamse Wielerweek by the Belgian Cycling Federation. Other moves includes shifting Brabantse Pijl (Flèche Brabançonne) to the Wednesday after Paris-Roubaix and moving the Scheldeprijs (Grand Prix de l'Escaut) to the spot previously held by Gent-Wevelgem.

    "The goal is to make the calendar more logical from a technical point of view: Flèche Brabançonne is a good transition to the Ardennes Classics, and Escaut is a flat, cobbled course well suited between Flanders and Roubaix," said Rumpf.

    "Placing Gent-Wevelgem before Flanders will also allow the organisers to better market their races, with Gent-Wevelgem marking the start of the "Flemish week" leading to Flanders."

    The Flemish cycling week (Vlaamse Wielerweek) begins Wednesday, March 24 with the Dwars door Vlaanderen (1.1), followed by the 1.HC E3 Prijs Harelbeke. Gent-Wevelgem will now be incorporated into the festivities with the move to Sunday, March 28 before the KBC-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde stage race.

    The grand finale of the week, the Ronde Van Vlaanderen, takes place on April 4, one week before the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix.

    The Brabantse Pijl will provide a transition from the cobbled races to the hillier Classics before the show packs up to moves to the Ardennes for Amstel Gold, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège - Bastogne - Liège.

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